Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Smart Apps Facilitate Hajj | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Women sit on steps of Noor Mountain, on the outskirts of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

Makkah- Millions of pilgrims are showing interest in using the modern communication means and smart applications; smartphone stores are now providing a variety of applications related to Hajj that focus on how to perform this ritual in a correct and easy manner.

Egyptian Hajj Abdulrahim Mohammed, 37, is willing to use one of these applications that guide him on acts and favorable prayers. Mohammed told Asharq Al-Awsat that “performing Hajj rituals has become much easier thanks to these applications. All what you have to do is to recharge your mobile, install the applications and then follow the instructions.”

Mutawef Application, for example, provides instant and updated information on crowded areas through an interactive comprehensive map.

Ahmad Salem, an official in one of the Hajj campaigns, said that Hajj smart applications have pulled the rug from under a huge number of clerics and preachers who used to deliver lectures to pilgrims. Salem added: “Access to Hajj-related inquiries and fatwa is now an easy process. You can do that at any place, at your house, in the airplane, vehicle or train.”

The Saudi authorities’ contribution in this field was no less. The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Da’wah and Guidance offers an application that is a full guide to Hajj and is available in 14 languages.

Furthermore, a Saudi youth and a Palestinian girl invented a smart umbrella equipped with a flashlight, fan, three USB ports and a GPS. Saudi scientist Kamel Badawi said that this invention will contribute to delivering basic requirements of pilgrims during the Hajj season.

“The smart umbrella will also alleviate the extreme hot weather and facilitate communication between pilgrims and officials. As this umbrella transforms solar energy into electricity, a fan will start to operate and this will save pilgrims the risk of heatstroke,” said Badawi.